It’s been a long time since I sat in a coffee shop writing in a paper journal. This one is encouraging my spaz-ness with its message-“Free Writing Sise: Use it take all kind of notes-Think, Memo, Drawing.” Thank you, Young Art Company of Korea for providing a place to record all three! Tonight my heart is full, and as I leap from thought to thought, I just might need to jot a memo or two and add an illustration in between my choppy stream of conscience.
When I lived across the ocean, I spent hours in crowded coffee shops, filling paper journals with English words, which drowned the din of Korean being spoken all around me. It’s louder back in the U.S., and it’s much harder to process thoughts as they come when they are constantly interrupted by bits of conversation happening all around me. Tonight I sit distracted by two teenage girls who just came in for decaf lattes (in my mind, decaf anything from Starbucks is a SERIOUS waste of money, so that’s one strike against them), and are now sitting in the cozy chairs, which are awkwardly placed a little too close to this table where I’m sitting (strike 2). They remind me of kids I traveled with to China this summer as they chat about the many possibilities for getting drunk in Mexico where they are already old enough to partake (and strike 3).
In ten minutes I’ve labeled them foolish, uninteresting, and depraved. And I’m close to praying they will leave so I can get on with filling my paper journal. Then louder than their conversation, the jazzy Christmas music, or the steam whipping up hot milk behind the counter, I hear “Love them.” And my heart breaks for my hypocrisy. Seventeen year old girls don’t need me to judge. They go to school with hundreds of judges critiquing their skin, hair, shoes, shirts, dresses, jewelry, arms, legs, feet, fingers, butts, boobs, noses, make up, jobs, boyfriends, hobbies, grades, talents, faith, families… What they need, is love. And not the “OMG! I just LOVE that shirt” love, but the “OMG! You’re lost and broken and incomplete and uncertain, depraved, foolish, wayward, and I LOVE YOU” love. That is agape, and it redeems.
God asked Hosea to demonstrate His love for us by loving the lost and broken and incomplete and uncertain, depraved, foolish, and wayward prostitute Gomer. Hosea obeyed and married Gomer, loving her with complete abandon. He fought for her, and by the grace of God provided a home, children, hope, commitment, and new life. Still she left him, twice for other lovers. Hosea forgave her, brought her back, and kept on loving her. And at the end of Hosea and Gomer’s story, it’s clear that we are all Gomer, and to us God calls out:
“I will forgive them for leaving me
and will love them freely”
Amazing God, who alone is worthy of all my praise.